9 Questions to Ask Potential Trusted Advisors

Effective business lawyers who receive trusted advisor status from their clients often wear more than one hat.

Trusted advisors are not only asked technical legal questions, but also often are asked to weigh in on business decisions in general because of the client’s comfort in the lawyer’s analytical abilities and career experiences with similar business decisions.

Any trusted advisor should have many years of experience in all legal aspects of opening, acquiring, operating and exiting business, in order to ensure your business goals reach fruition.

Some attorneys have begun to shy away from the trusted advisor role for their own personal reasons. While other attorneys focus on attempting to mold their legal advice to align with their client’s expectations, when the law does not favor the client’s desired position.

It’s important that trusted advisors know the law in theory and in practice, so they can offer creative, innovative and practical alternatives to a client’s desired course of action that will best meet business goals in situations where the technical aspects of the law may not align perfectly with the client’s business needs.

Consider this: When you meet with a new potential advisor, be sure that their goal is not to determine if they can help you, but rather to determine if they are the right people to help. They should always put the client’s business needs first and strive to provide value for their services, since the cost of excellent legal service is a significant business concern.

Any trusted advisor should view themselves as strategic partners to their clients and understand the importance and value-added service that comes from providing their business experience, as well as technical legal advice. Balancing legal risk and business risk in each aspect of their business should always be considered.

If you are starting and/or operating a business, you may want to get answers to the following nine questions from potential trusted advisors:

  1. Can you provide assistance with preparation and review of legal documents necessary to buy or sell a business or business assets?
  2. Can you provide assistance with preparation and review of legal documents necessary to buy or sell stock shares or membership interests in corporations and limited liability companies?
  3. Can you prepare corporate governance documents that define the relationships of partners, members, shareholders, officers and managers?
  4. Can you evaluate management structure and provide assistance with management or shareholder conflicts?
  5. Can you assist with reviewing and obtaining financing or private equity investments?
  6. Can you assist with reviewing, preparing and analyzing loan documents and real estate documents and leases?
  7. Can you advise on regulatory compliance with all aspects of business operations, including unclaimed property law compliance;
  8. Can you prepare employment contracts and separation agreements?
  9. Can you perform the legal analysis of business plans and new business concepts?

The questions above are not intended to be exhaustive, but to provide a snapshot of the various types of corporate and business tasks that attorneys should be able to perform daily.

If you are searching for a for a qualified firm, contact us at Bailey Cavalieri. Our clients’ goals are our goals and our success as trusted advisors depends on our clients’ successes in their business ventures.


James G. Ryan – http://baileycav.com/professional/james-g-ryan/

Jameel S. Turner – http://baileycav.com/professional/jameel-s-turner/

D. David Carroll – http://baileycav.com/professional/d-david-carroll/

David A. Martrin – http://baileycav.com/professional/david-a-martin/

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